When Richard Thompson sings, seas part and rocks crumble. His is an authoritative, confident voice, but also a breathlessly young one, unchanged over the years, as this second collection of acoustic versions of his back catalogue proves. There’s also his pearl-bright guitar-playing, still exquisitely, boldly, ragingly alive. Take his new version of Genesis Hall, the opening track he wrote for Fairport Convention’s Unhalfbricking: his story of the ideological struggles of the late 1960s, inspired by his policeman father and the squat-dwellers he lived alongside, sounds just as vital nearly 50 years on. Elsewhere, we dash through Thompson’s career beautifully, hunting out tracks forgotten by many in folk music’s quieter days: 1983’s Devonside, 1988’s Pharoah and 2003’s Gethsemane shine particularly bright. A project funded by Pledge Music-style crowdfunding, this is not a primer for his career by any means, but a welcome light on dusty corners, opening up a notable life.
Jude Rogers is a journalist, interviewer, arts critic and broadcaster.